Andrew Coyne has been Harper’s most convincing detractor. And now, to the delight of Tories everywhere I’m sure, he is training his guns on the cynicism of the opposition parties.
Faced with the unreasonable and extreme proposal that they raise funds in the same way as the Conservatives have been doing for years — by asking people for their money, rather than taking it from them — they really had no alternative but to seize power. What on earth were they supposed to do? Revamp their moribund fund-raising organizations? Find a message and a leader capable of motivating large numbers of Canadians to click the “donate” button on their websites? Get off their collective duffs? What were the Tories thinking?
No. No, the sensible, restrained, pragmatic thing to do when threatened with the loss of subsidy is to take down the government. The sober, reasonable, moderate thing to do in this time of economic uncertainty is to provoke a constitutional crisis — to cobble together a coalition without a prime minister or a program, propped up by a separatist party, and demand the governor general call upon it to form a new government, replacing the old one we just elected. It’s been six weeks, after all.
Coyne goes on to tear apart the supposed economic argument for bringing down Harper’s minority government. It’s pretty remarkable. After the last election, my sense was that the Liberals would be reluctant to burn through scarce campaign cash. Sure enough, this latest adventure seems to have been prompted by the real possibility that the federal campaign spigot would be turned off.